How to Care for Fruit Trees in Iowa


With the state's temperate climate and rich soil, growing fruit trees in Iowa generally is not difficult. In some cases, all you need is to find the appropriate tree and make sure that it can withstand the worst of Iowa's winters. There may be other cases that will require a little extra work to ensure that the tree has a full and productive life. Pests, pruning and watering are areas of concern that you may have to deal with from time to time.

Step 1

Plant in the fall to give the roots a time to get established during the dormant period, when attacks from diseases and pests are not as likely and should not put additional stress on the tree.

Step 2

Prune in the late winter, around the beginning of March, to give the tree time to heal from the pruning before the bugs arrive.

Step 3

Apply a fungicide at the first sign of leaf budding, typically in April, according to label instructions.

Step 4

Inspect leaves and fruit for signs of insects or fungus from the middle of spring through harvest.

Step 5

Coat the tree, especially the leaves and fruit, with an insecticide or fungicide designed for fruit trees, or a product that has a combination of both, if insects or fungus are found. Follow the label instructions for dosage.

Step 6

Give the trees at least 2 to 3 inches of water per week during dry periods of the growing season. Skip the watering if an equivalent amount of rain falls.

Step 7

Harvest in the late summer or fall in Iowa, depending on your cultivar.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use the combination insecticide and fungicide only when the trees are not blooming or pollination could be limited or stopped. Iowa springs can be cool and wet, and provide a great environment for many different types of fungus, especially varieties of leaf spot. Some fungi can kill the tree, or at least cause fruit and leaves to drop. The Japanese beetle and codling moth are common fruit tree pests in Iowa, but many others also will feed on leaves and fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Fungicide
  • Insecticide


  • USDA Growing Zone Map: North Midwest
  • Earl May: Pruning
  • Century Farm Orchards: Plant Guide
  • Pick Your Own: Picking Tips

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State Extension: Suggsted Pear and Stone Fruit Varieties
  • All About Apples: Iowa Apple Orchard Listing
Keywords: Iowa fruit trees, growing Iowa fruit, fruit in Iowa, Iowa fruit growing

About this Author

Kenneth Black has been a freelance writer since 2008. He currently works as a staff writer for "The Times Republican" in Central Iowa. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including business, politics, family life and travel. Black holds a bachelor's degree in business marketing from the University of Phoenix.